Adoption law needs to be modernised

A chara, – An estimated 150,000 adoptees are still subject to legislation from 1952. Adoptees are truly the last taboo of an inherited social structure long since outdated and best left in the past.

At the moment Minister for Children Katherine Zappone seeks to introduce the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 when the Dáil resumes. This Bill does absolutely nothing to recognise adoptee identity rights. It merely reflects the existing legal position as it now stands. This is not progress.

Ms Zappone’s Bill does not allow an automatic right for an adoptee to access their own information, it simply allows a qualified right “to apply”.

Adoptees from Irish domestic adoptions are subjected to treatment by the State that should have been long left behind.


Documents are redacted, files maintained and held by authorities, personal letters between biological relatives are opened, read, copied and kept “on file”, and personal information is withheld at a whim.

The State is aware that there are sufficient safeguards already in place to maintain the right to privacy of any citizen, not just a birth parent. What the State wishes to continue is complete blanket anonymity and secrecy, not privacy, while withholding and retaining the adoption files. This is allowing effective ownership of someone else’s identity, which has been called many things throughout history, but “privacy” is not one of them.

How can we discuss the right of same-sex couples to have both parents’ names on their children’s birth certificate without affording adoptees similar rights to determine their own name, form their own identity and also have both biological parents named on their original birth certificate, if they so wish?

Old values and secrecy from another era have no place in a modern society. – Is mise,



Co Offaly.